Unlike drugs, alcohol affects every part of a person’s body. Detoxing can therefore be quite challenging, as can diagnosing alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Keep reading this page to learn more about the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal and how we can help you stop drinking.
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What is an Alcohol Detox?
Alcohol detox is the process where you stop drinking and flush your body clear of alcohol. This can be challenging as you have become accustomed to alcohol and you may face some withdrawal symptoms through this stage. But alcohol detox is a necessary step in recovering from alcohol and regaining control of your life away from addiction.
Alcohol detox can be completed at home or in rehab, but to give you the best chance of a successful detox you should be admitted to a rehab facility. Here you will be closely monitored at all times to see how your body reacts to withdrawing from alcohol. Detox medications can be administered to help alleviate any severe symptoms you experience through detoxification and symptoms can vary from person to person.
Withdrawal symptoms experienced during alcohol detox can be unpleasant, uncomfortable and potentially very dangerous; therefore, it is preferred to detox in a safe environment under the supervision of addiction recovery specialists where risks can be monitored.
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms occur due to the body becoming reliant on having a certain level of alcohol within its bloodstream. When the alcohol levels in the blood start to decrease, it triggers a chemical imbalance in the brain, which triggers specific phycological and physical responses, otherwise referred to as ‘withdrawal symptoms.
This can refer to the way a person feels either between drinks (in the case of an alcoholic) or during the detox process when alcohol is removed from the bloodstream over some time.
When undertaking alcohol detox, withdrawal symptoms can start to take effect within 4-6 hours of a person’s last drink.
If you are wondering whether you might be addicted to alcohol, experiencing withdrawal symptoms is a clear sign to look out for when establishing whether your drinking habits have turned into an addiction.
If, after a few hours from your last drink, you start experiencing symptoms such as anxiety, shakes, sweats, nausea or dizziness, you will most likely be suffering from addiction and should seek help right away.
We are fully committed to helping people recover and seek help for alcohol addiction. We understand that it can be worrying and frightening to think about the prospect of giving up alcohol if you are addicted to it, and we are here to help you on your journey through alcohol detox.
We can help you live a life free from the unpleasantness and vicious cycle of alcohol addiction. Get in touch with our compassionate staff today for help and support – together, we can refer you to a clinic that can get you started with your safe alcohol detox.
The harmful toxins in your body alcohol must be completely flushed out of the bloodstream via a medically assisted detox before the next residential rehabilitation stage can occur.
Detoxing From Alcohol
Before you undertake an alcohol detox in an appropriate rehab facility, you will be given a medical assessment to determine your overall health and talk through the detox process with your specialist.
When alcohol detox begins, you may be given detox medications that your specialist feels are necessary and nutritional supplements to help your body fight withdrawal symptoms.
Staff at your alcohol rehab clinic will monitor you closely to ensure you are safe and healthy while you enter the withdrawal phase. As the treatment plan continues, so will the ongoing medication and observations.
It is likely that after two days, you will feel generally unwell due to your withdrawal symptoms. Providing no further health complications, these symptoms should start to subside after a whole week.
During this time, you may also be given additional detox medications alongside regular one to one counselling to help you cope with your long-term cravings.
How Long Does it Take to Carry out an Alcohol Detox?
It is important to remember that every individual reacts in their own way to alcohol detox treatment, so completion times will vary. The average patient generally successfully detoxes from alcohol within a week.
Day 1 of Detox
During the first 24 hours, you are likely to experience nausea and vomiting – this is perfectly normal, and you should not be alarmed by this. You may also experience difficulty sleeping. However, these symptoms are good signs that the body is trying to recover and cope without alcohol being present in the bloodstream.
Day 2 of Detox
Day Two of alcohol detox and your symptoms can increase from your first 24 hours without alcohol. Depending on how long you have been accustomed to alcohol in your system, you can experience hallucinations and seizures in extreme cases. Between the period of days, two and three is when you are most likely to feel the effect of withdrawal symptoms. After you have successfully navigated this period each day will see you getting stronger and symptoms ease.
Days 3 – 7 of Detox
During days 3 to 4 of alcohol detox, you may still experience more uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms such as raised body temperature, shakes, sweats and feeling anger, irritability or aggression. These symptoms will continue to subside over days 5 and 6 until you begin to feel normal towards the end of the week.
Always remember that every person is unique, and your own experience of detox will be different to that of someone else’s. However, detection and rehab continue to be successful methods of combating alcohol addiction.
Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
As touched on above, the leading cause of alcohol withdrawal symptoms is the body struggling to cope after an alcohol detox has started to push all the toxins out of your system. This is mainly related to the brain’s dependency on the substance, so removing it can cause a chemical imbalance.
These chemical reactions within the brain is a clear sign that your body has become accustomed to the continuous presence of alcohol. To contract alcohol absence from the body, the brain will instead start to produce more natural chemicals from sources such as food to keep itself and the body functioning.
Alcohol Withdrawl Symptoms Include:
In more extreme cases, people may face symptoms such as hallucinations, increased heart rate, fever and delirium tremens. Much will depend on a variety of factors how tough or easy you find and overcome the worst of the symptoms. What we do at this time is all focused on lessening the worst of the symptoms and speeding up recovery time.
This is why rehab centres also incorporate a healthy nutritional plan alongside your alcohol detox programme, so your brain is getting the proper nutrients it needs to produce certain chemicals that are essential to recovery.
What Is Delirium Tremens?
During the process of alcohol detox, you may experience Delirium Tremens, this is a symptom of your body reacting to a sudden change in alcohol levels in the bloodstream. The brain becomes confused and does not know how to respond or how much of a particular chemical it needs to produce to bring stability to the body.
This causes issues within the brain and nervous system as they both struggle to function correctly. You should seek immediate help if you or someone you love could be suffering from delirium tremens.
The symptoms of delirium tremens are:
- Vivid nightmares
- Increased heart rate
- Panic attacks
- Irrational thoughts and behaviour
- Fluctuating temperature
Seeking Help If You Are Dependent On Alcohol
If you feel as if alcohol consumption is taking over your life or know someone who has drinks excessively and requires help before it becomes life-threatening, we are here to advise you of the treatment options that are best suited to you.
Get in touch with us today for help support and be referred to a clinic that can help you get back on track via an alcohol detox programme.
Although the majority of addicts can detox from alcohol with only mild withdrawal symptoms being experienced, there are some cases that can become very severe and even life threatening
Delirium Tremens is a serious condition that can be developed from withdrawal and can result in the risk of developing heart attacks, seizures, strokes, feelings of disorientation and confusion.